Tech giants join forces to create industrial IoT standards

A group of large, established tech companies, including IBM, AT&T, Intel, Cisco, and GE, will collaborate on standards for the “Industrial Internet,” the companies announced yesterday. The Industrial Internet Consortium will be managed by Open Object Management, a non-profit standards consortium based in Boston who has already worked in the arena with DDS(Data-Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems) and other specifications.

The Internet of Things is a diverse ecosystem of products, services and protocols that has yet to settle on widely-adopted standards the way the web settled on, say, HTML. Startups creating consumer IoT products have a plethora of choices for how those devices will connect and share data -- everything from wireless protocols like ZigBee or Bluetooth Low Energy to interoperability data management platforms like Thingworx or Thingspeak.

The IIC will focus on large-scale applications that can connect equipment, devices and people throughout supply chains and across industries.

“As an industry, we’ve come to the conclusion that for the Internet of Things to really take off, we needed more interoperability, better building blocks and better standards,” Abhi Ingle, a senior vice president of AT&T’s advanced solutions group, told the New York Times.

Cooperation between large companies could signal a shift in the IoT landscape, as the decisions made by tech titans in the IIC could trickle down to encourage smaller players and consumer products to adopt the same standards.

IIC’s steering committee will include the founding companies and others to be elected later, and membership will be open to any company or organization interested in the Industrial Internet.

A list of other IoT standards initiatives can be found on our toolkit resource page.